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Ask most Charlotteans what’s going on in our city and they don’t have a clue. The Charlotteans who are in the know about Queen City events complain that our activities are too expensive. About two years ago, I might have agreed with most folks about Charlotte’s nightlife.

But my thoughts quickly changed after I decided to step out of my comfort zone and tried a Salsa dancing class. During my first few lessons, I remember feeling very challenged trying to synchronize my feet with the music. Growing up on hip-hop and jazz didn’t help me figure out Salsa’s musical rhythms; it just sounded like a bunch of loud noise. But I was committed to learning how to dance and getting familiar with this new music. The people in the Salsa community were so warm, welcoming, friendly, and provided me with encouraging words to strive to become a better dancer. As I slowly moved away, from the comfort of the back wall during the Salsa Socials, my dance skills began to improve. I was no longer getting charity dances; the advanced dancers were no longer back-leading (helping me during our dances). I was finally getting the hang of this new dance and music!

After about a year, I noticed a total change in my life. I was dancing several times per week and the funk was gone! Prior to enrolling in my first salsa class, I experienced the death of my Aunt Vanessa, who was like a second mother. Then I experienced the ending of a long-term meaningful relationship. Finally, I experienced the death of my grandmother. After experiencing three major endings, I was ready for new beginnings. My Salsa dance instructors and my new found Salsa family were instrumental in helping me move out of my funk and transitioning into to feeling alive again. Their high energy levels, smiles, and overall positive attitudes provided me with new life. Every night of dancing was recharging my battery. I was out dancing late into the night yet feeling energized the following morning at work.

This is my story about my new beginning with Salsa Dancing. Come out and join us so that you can write your story about how learning to dance Salsa changes your life.

Dr. Dip

Charlotte’s Salsa Ambassador

Want to try salsa?

Free Salsa Social at Upscale Restaurant & Lounge (every 1st and 3rd Tuesday of the month)

Charlotte Latin Dance’s Free Salsa Social at Villa Antonio on South Boulevard (last Tuesday of each month)

Charlotte Mambo’s Society’s First Saturday Social

World Dance Center’s Wednesday Salsa Socials.

Beginners are welcome at all of the Salsa events.

Dr. Dip is the salsa name for our finance columnist Rashad Phillips. He typically writes about ways to save money and build wealth, but he’s such a passionate salsa dancer that he wrote the guest column for us. Read his finance columns below:

Time To Have The Talk: The Money Talk

Are You Substituting Money For Self-Worth?